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Which Sports Equipment to Select for your Workout?

From Jon, published on 02/05/2018 We Love Prof - AU > Sport > Personal Training > How to Choose Home Exercise Equipment for Personal Training?

Finally! Summer is almost here and you have decided to wave goodbye to your flabby tummy and say hello to 6-pack abs!

You are even motivated enough to take classes with a personal trainer to help you shed your excess kilos and get back that slim and slender figure on which you built your reputation during those sunny summer volleyball sessions – not a bad idea at all!

Getting back into shape, or the muscle exercises necessary for toning the upper body (pectoral, dorsal and abdominal muscles and biceps) and the lower body (thighs, gluts and calves), can be done by simply using one’s own body weight and everyday objects.

Nevertheless, depending on the targeted area, investing in certain bodybuilding and fitness equipment is still recommended. Rest assured, we are not talking about huge sums of money here, just exercise equipment that is basic enough to help optimize your weight loss and training program.

Whether you have an online personal trainer or a private personal trainer at home (with their Certificate in Fitness Instructing – Gym, or Diploma in Health, Fitness, and Exercise Instruction to hand) it is sometimes still necessary to purchase home fitness equipment to help with strength training.

The idea behind this is not to make you go out and purchase all the same gruesome torture machines that are available in the weight room of your favorite gym, but just suggest a few fitness products essential for a regular and quality workout (dumbbell weights, skipping rope, yoga mat, exercise bench, etc.) .

Here is a selection of articles recommended by your future personal trainer…

Dumbbells & Gym Weights are Indispensable for Personal Training

Personal trainers and fitness equipment– what is a good middle ground?

Weight equipment like dumbbells allows you to complete an upper body workout that will tone and build upper body muscles effectively.

Following that, you can strengthen the pectorals, shoulders and biceps, which will not only let you stick your chest out with pride during your next swimming session, but also engage your thighs and glutes. Don’t forget that a nice bum can turn a lot of heads – true for men as much as it is for women!

Generally speaking, try not to spend more than 45 minutes per session with dumbbells. Otherwise, you end up with a workout that makes you burn fat and destroy muscle fibre, which will need to be rebuilt during recovery and rehabilitation. You will naturally slim down and your upper body muscles will already be more visible after ten or so regularly spaced out weight training sessions.

Think about alternating muscle groups during a workout session or between sessions when using dumbbells or a barbell to make sure you don’t overwork a particular muscle.

Kettle Bell Weight Training Appropriate use of a kettlebell will ensure that you don’t hurt yourself; it is worth enlisting a competent personal trainer to avoid injury! (Source: Visual Hunt)

Safety Advice for using Gym Weights:

  • Keep your back straight and upright to ensure your vertebra and spinal column are properly aligned.
  • Support the weights during movements where you return the dumbbells to prevent joint injury.
  • Finally, think about keeping a well-wrapped abdominal belt on whilst exercising and don’t forget to breathe too!

Be Careful when Using Kettlebells!

If you do functional training – better known as CrossFit – you will probably already know about kettlebells, which are free weights and a kind of dumbbell with a handle that can be used for lifting. Used by the Russian military Special Forces for their routine physical training and by MMA fighters during circuit training, these dumbbell weights encourage the user to work on their muscles whilst doing aerobic exercise (cardio), improving strength, endurance, stamina and flexibility and allowing for a lot of fat to be burnt. That is if one knows how to use them properly!!!

Huffington Post published this article on weight lifting techniques and muscle and movement exercises that personal trainers advise against and it includes a section on kettlebells.

You should only complete American kettlebell swings if you have proper core stabilization at the top of the lift, as well as solid shoulder mobility. If done improperly, this can lead to back and shoulder injuries.” –Collette Stohler, author of The Intuitive Athlete, and HuffPost blogger

In terms of fitness products, many home gym and bodybuilding websites specialize in increasing muscle mass through the use of free weights, such as dumbbells.  Among some of the best value fitness products out there are those sold by Sports Direct who is selling dumbbell sets at between £4.99 and £17.99 a pair at 2 x 0.5kg and 2 x 5kg. If you are pretty fit and one of your fitness goals is to gain more muscle mass, a pair of dumbbell weights at 15kg will cost you about forty quid. The heavier the weights are, the more expensive they get!

Domyos by Decathlon has uploaded 8 videos about muscle exercises so that you can learn how to properly use your dumbbells. These exercises for increasing strength cover different movements:

  • Squats
  • Butterfly
  • Side Lunges
  • Rotators
  • Toning your biceps and glutes
  • Strengthening your shoulders and back
  • Strengthening your tricep muscles

Domyos is the go-to brand for personal trainers, sports professionals and gym and health and fitness centre graduates.

You can also find out more about low impact exercise and how to build muscle with a personal trainer.

Which Fitness Equipment Will Get You the Abs of Your Personal Trainer?

If you want to get in shape and work on your abdominal muscles, a good private personal trainer in your own home will explain the following golden rule to you. When it comes to getting amazing, well-sculpted abs and reducing fatty mass around the stomach, it is not about the quantity or intensity of the abdominal home workout sessions that you do, but rather the regularity.

Abs Workout Machines The abs crunch machine will encourage you to contract your abs as you return back to the original position. The advantage of this? It ensures that you do the movement properly! (Source: Visual Hunt)

Of course, you have the opportunity to enhance your abs without any fitness equipment at all, just with a carpet or foam gym mat and perhaps a cushion to support your head as you do some sit-ups. However, with an abs exercise machine, you have the peace of mind that you are working all the inner, upper and lower abdominal muscles and the oblique muscles. This kind of training equipment will especially enable you to avoid injury and dorsal muscle pain by helping you to complete each movement properly

Before purchasing this sort of home exercise equipment though, it is worth taking into consideration the following two questions:

  1. Are you a beginner, or a well-established fitness enthusiast?
  2. Do you want to tone your deeper muscles, or sculpt your abs?

The abs crunch bench: usually flexible enough to fold up and a small compact size, this exercise machine can be transported without a problem. It has an inclined surface where you can nestle in your feet and bring your chest forwards to work the rectus abdominis muscle and the obliques as part of the intended movements.

To help you choose the right abs exercise machines, Domyos (a fitness brand by Decathlon), has published this very useful article written by their team of sports coaches.

Thanks to the pulling movement of the chest, the ab swing machine (crunch) enables the user to sculpt their abs (when working actively)  and to tone the deeper muscles that support the viscera (when doing static muscular work).

Remember that, thanks to regular abdominal exercise sessions, you will be able to:

  • Develop a toned stomach effect
  • Slim down and sculpt your figure
  • Maintain and strengthen your lumbar region

There are also a number of other abs exercise machines, such as double abs roller wheels, abs balls, abdo gains or abs crunch machines. The website primofitnessusa.com has compared the different terminology and targeted body parts. Don’t hesitate to have a browse through their gym equipment glossary!

For people suffering from back pain and those who have lordosis, kyphosis or scoliosis, be very careful when you work your abs to avoid adding excess pressure to the area. Ideally, consult your personal trainer either in the gym or at home, so that they can guide you through your first session and help you to develop good exercise habits.

Easily Transportable Home Gym Equipment

Power Plate Machine

A Power Plate machine is a great machine to work all the muscles in the body. Apart from its relatively high price tag, you’ll also find another drawback is that it is pretty hard to squeeze it into your small studio apartment or 2-bed!

To train effectively and re-sculpt ones figure all whilst having plenty of fun, make these types of fitness machine your go-to:

  • Not too heavy, so that you can move on your own and without hurting yourself – with wheels would be best!
  • Bendable, so that you can save space by placing them under something like a bed or wardrobe.
  • Robust and well-known in the fitness world. This is important if you want to sell them on if you decide one day that you are bored of fitness and want to turn your hands to say, Scrabble!

Easily Movable Sports Equipment Choose exercise machines that can be folded up or are easily transportable, so that you don’t turn your muscle exercise sessions into a right mission! (Source: Visual Hunt)

Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are another really great piece of home gym equipment that, similarly to a jump rope, are ideal for home fitness because they won’t break the bank and are easy to use. Unlike much bulkier exercise equipment like treadmills, benches and rowing machines, they can be tucked neatly away in a drawer somewhere.

They also are probably readily available from your nearest fitness store and come in a range of different (and usually bright) colours with a variety of grips and handles if you are a sucker for style!

A resistance band will help to develop strong leg muscles through the action of pushing by working to counteract the ‘pull’ force created by your hands as you grasp the band. While they won’t give you a full body workout, they are the best fitness equipment to use if you want to ease into exercise or have been advised by your physio to do some low impact activities following an ankle or knee injury.

Static Exercise Bikes

An indoor cycling bike can be a good purchase if you want to burn calories, get your heart rate going, improve your cardio and thin down your hips and bum with a bit of indoor cycling. When picking up exercise bikes from the store though, remember that it would be better to have two people there on the day of purchase to help transport the exercise bike and install it in your home.

You could also think about putting a rug down to absorb any excesses water and so as not to stain your nice wooden flooring!

Sporting activities in the gym like indoor cycling or RPM (group cycling classes where you spin the wheels of a stationary bicycle to pumping music), zumba, body attack or even body pump are really great ways to raise your pulse, get a good cardio workout and burn fat all whilst building strength and helping with the promotion of muscle endurance.

Crossfit is also an activity ideal for muscling up and conditioning the body, but you should absolutely be supervised by a competent sports coach to avoid injury!

Fitness Equipment vs Environmental Elements

There is really no need to invest thousands of pounds in sophisticated commercial fitness equipment in order to get a dream body. As we explained in previous paragraphs, for those not too keen on financing a career in bodybuilding through the nose, you can always decide to invest only a very limited amount of money in your home workout or physical fitness training.

  • Fitness gear – a breathable cloth outfit (or some stylish activewear if you prefer!)
  • Weights (dumbbells, kettlebells) won’t break the bank
  • Basic abdo machines (crunch, bench, Swiss ball…),
  • Exercise mat

Some methods of bodybuilding, like the Lafay Method,  propose 110 exercises (muscle training, weight loss, fitness and physical training) without any exercise equipment at all.

All you need in fact are everyday objects (a chair, a bed, a stool, etc.) for your bodybuilding-cardio sessions. These exercises have proven their worth with recommendations from both beginners and well established sportsmen. In this case, the material investment is almost nothing and all you need is motivation and a little bit of elbow grease!

The method requires some innovation, but you can have quite a lot of fun turning your house into an all purpose home gym without spending a dime!

Pull Up Bars

Remember the monkey bars you used to play on in the school playground? You probably needed a ladder to climb up them rather than lift up your whole body weight using only your arms at the time, but pull up bars are essentially a kind of complex monkey bar (a chin-up bar) specially designed for fitness pros.

While they may seem basic they actually require the user to be incredibly athletic, developing a strong core and serious upper body strength with long-term use. Pull up bars are an essential piece of strength equipment that home gyms should not be without.

There are a wide range of pull up bars out there if you want to splash your cash. Prices can be as high as £400 for luxury pull up bars that boast features such as sweat resistant protective grip (to avoid the need for gloves), multi-purpose fold-up bars (can be used for additional fitness exercises, such as, elevated push-ups), adjustable lengths and attachments (so that they can be used anywhere, any time) and can be made to hold a variety of different body weights.

However, if you want to get creative and save on the cost of a pull-up bar and follow the Lafay Method, you could simply try pulling up on your bannisters or doing a chin-up or two in your doorway.

Make sure you have checked to see that the objects you choose are in fact strong enough to hold your body weight though, or you could end up in A&E instead of WWE!

Home Gym Body Building It is absolutely possible to do strength training exercises without any equipment at all, simply by using the objects from around your house! (Source: Visual Hunt)

Combine Exercise Equipment with Diet

Generally speaking, you should remember to combine your workouts with a balanced diet and consult a qualified sports nutrition expert if you wish to gain muscle mass, lose weight or trim your figure.  

This will allow you to better select the necessary diet and meals for during and after your body workout sessions and to follow good nutritional advice.

Finally, hydration is very important for your overall wellness and should always be a part of any workout routine.

Drink regularly during and after your workout sessions to eliminate toxins and enable your muscles to recover faster. A light cooling down and stretching session after your workout where you stretch out all your muscles will help release a bit of muscular tension.

If you are considering trading in your gym membership, you can also discover all there is to know about the fitness classes online and health and fitness apps to complement your home workout.

In the meantime, you can begin kitting out your home gym with some essential fitness equipment! Try some of these exercise machines and gadgets for starters…

The Pros and Cons of Exercise and Fitness Equipment

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